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Newism: why, now more than ever, consumers lust after the new

The 'new' has never been hotter. For consumers who've grown accustomed to demanding (and increasingly getting) the best of the best, the very notion of the 'new' has become a positive one.
Now, brands, entrepreneurs and individuals from all over the world are spewing forth an endless stream of new products and services. NEWISM is creative destruction, hyper-competition, globalism, consumerism on steroids and a celebration of innovation, all in one. For brands, new and established, it boils down to capturing and holding consumers' attention. While consumers' attention spans might be shorter, the rewards can be instant and massive.

So what are the forces that are contributing to the growth and prominence of NEWISM? Here are four that are leading the way:


Creative destruction may have an alarming ring to it, but for consumers it's now something to be celebrated, because as the volume and pace of innovation becomes faster than ever, 'creation' is now firmly outweighing 'destruction'. In fact B2C businesses throughout the world, from emerging to mature economies, are now creating new products, services and experiences on a daily, if not hourly basis. This has moved 'new' from being a tired marketing ploy by 'old' brands ('new and improved'!), to a genuine, exciting, better
proposition for consumers.


Everything is getting faster and even FSTR ;-). The online world, with its relentless acceleration and amplification - of information, of excitement, of attention - is of course a major contributor to NEWISM.

Witness phenomena such as Instagram (10 million users in under a year) or Draw Something (35 million users in just six weeks!). And, just to highlight NEWISM's often-fleeting nature, many Draw Something users have now abandoned the app, no doubt to seek something new ;-).


The desire to tell interesting STATUS STORIES is further fuelling consumers' never-ending lust for new experiences, especially in a world where so much of identity is expressed online.

Any experience that few others can or have had is a sure-fire status symbol. However, with more people than ever searching for 'unique' experiences, they are becoming harder-to-find and thus often expensive. The (cheaper, more practical) alternative therefore is for status-hungry consumers to resort to EXPERIENCE CRAMMING: collecting and mixing-and-matching as many, and as wide a variety, of new experiences as possible.


The innovation-spurring eco-system described above is also totally transparent, with everything now reviewed and rated the moment it's created, meaning the risk for consumers of trying out something new is approaching zilch.

Furthermore, new business models (from subscription services to 'tryvertising', to collaborative consumption) are enabling consumers to experience the 'new' with less commitment, and at lower cost.

What NEWISM is NOT (and the inevitable counter-trend)

Now, NEWISM is not 'just' traditional product innovation. The 'new and improved' from yesteryear has been surpassed by a genuinely innovative and creative explosion, taking place worldwide.

Last but not least, it does not mean all consumer attention will be focused on the new. There will still be endless value in heritage brands, known to deliver constant, trusted quality and provenance. There will be value in well-told, compelling stories--in comfort, tradition and curation of existing products. Also, remember, no trend applies to all consumers, all of the time, and the 'new' doesn't always kill the old.

So, what are you waiting for? Time to get cracking and think what new products, services and experiences you can run with. Good luck!

About the author

Henry Mason is Global Head of Research and Managing Partner at For more on NEWISM, check out the July trend briefing at or sign up to attend the 2012 Consumer Trend Seminar at The Venue Melrose Arch in Johannesburg on 17 August. For more information, visit


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